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Home About Me The MS Diet Book The Diets BLOG - Coronavirus

It’s now thirty years since I was first diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis.  Back then, there were no disease-modifying drugs available for treating MS. They weren’t even on the horizon. My consultant was kind and patient, but gave no hint that there was anything I could do to help myself. The only advice he could offer was: “Go and research the disease, so that at least you know what to expect.”

I had recently become a mother, and I was determined that, as my daughter grew up, she would not be forced into the position of becoming a young carer. Doing nothing was not an option. In any case, I firmly believed that doctors don’t know everything. So I went to our small local library and rooted around. There was only one book I could find on the subject: Judy Graham’s Multiple Sclerosis: a Self-help Guide, (*) and it made very interesting reading. It appeared there were indeed ways in which I could help myself such as dietary changes, supplements, exercise, and mental attitude. They might not yet be scientifically proven to be effective, but I felt I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying them.

Changing my diet appealed to me because not only was I a keen cook, but my mother who suffered from severe IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) had damped down many of her symptoms by cutting out all those foods which made her feel worse, and replacing them with healthy alternatives. Maybe I could do something similar?  In any case, as a Coeliac, I was already on a gluten-free diet, dairy produce had never really agreed with me, and coffee and chocolate always made me feel ill.

By 1993, by combining a healthy, low-fat diet which avoided gluten, dairy and caffeine, with  vitamin and mineral supplements and various forms of exercise, my MS symptoms had stabilised. I had had another child, and could enjoy being a mother without the constant fear that each day that passed might bring on new symptoms. I started a new career as a writer, and decided to write a book about nutritional therapy and how it could help other people in my situation. This eventually became The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book, which was published by the Sheldon Press in 2007.  This was followed in 2017 by an updated version of the book, which includes all the latest research on dirt and MS.  

I was extremely lucky to come across the right advice just when I needed it most. Since then, however, many doctors have continued to dismiss the idea that nutritional therapy can help people with MS. There are two reasons for this, Firstly, doctors receive virtually no information in nutrition during their medical training.  Secondly, up until now, scientific evidence about the beneficial effects of nutritional therapy has been thin on the ground. Thankfully, that is about to change. From 2020, medical students in the UK will receive at least a basic grounding in nutrition. There is also a lot of research being carried out now into how diet affects our general health, and into the effects of nutrients such as Vitamin D on MS. There are also influential doctors who themselves have MS, who are now endorsing the dietary approach.  This, together with the new drug treatments and therapies for MS which are being trialled at the moment, means that people with MS can begin to be cautiously optimistic about the future.

* Now updated and re-released as Managing Multiple Sclerosis Naturally by Judy Graham.

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